Topic: College of Sciences and Humanities

April 21, 2008

Ball State University has received a grant of $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support the Bowen Center for Public Affairs.

The Bowen Center was created in 2007 to advance the ideals of civic literacy, community involvement and public service exemplified by the career of former Indiana Gov. Otis R. "Doc" Bowen. 

The center builds on the 27-year commitment to civic literacy and community service of the Bowen Institute for Political Participation - one of the new center's three components.

The $1 million grant will expand and strengthen Bowen Center programs through which Indiana students and leaders learn to sharpen their skills in political participation and civic engagement. The center also provides professional development opportunities for Indiana state, county and local officials, as well as university-based nonpartisan research to help identify current public needs in the Hoosier state.

"We at Ball State are grateful for the generous grant of $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support the Bowen Center for Public Affairs, one of our important community partnerships," said Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora. "The Bowen Center not only houses the Otis R. Bowen Papers, an important historical resource, but it also provides a variety of programs designed to promote civic involvement, provide policymakers with reliable, nonpartisan research, and train public officials in the effective delivery of services. We are committed to the continued success of the Bowen Center and generous gifts like the Lilly Endowment's will ensure that success."

Thomas M. Lofton, chairman of the Lilly Endowment's board of directors, praised Bowen March 28 during a gala 90th birthday tribute for the former governor at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis. Bowen is a member of the Lilly Endowment's board.

Describing Bowen as a "quiet and thoughtful, gentle and forceful presence on the board," Lofton noted Bowen's long service to the state and nation. After his two terms as governor from 1973 to 1981, Bowen joined the board of directors of Lilly Endowment. His period of service to the foundation was interrupted only once - by his appointment as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services during the second term of President Ronald Reagan from 1985 to 1989. He was the first medical doctor to hold that cabinet position.

More information about the Bowen Center may be found at